In case you haven’t heard, the state of child care in Idaho is in a precarious state. If you’re a working parent of a young child, there’s a good chance you’ve struggled to find affordable, reliable child care. If you’re a child care provider, it’s likely you struggle to hire and retain the staff to operate at a capacity that keeps your business solvent. We simply don’t have enough child care openings to accommodate every family who needs care. This affects workforce participation — placing financial strain on working parents — and limiting the pool of candidates. The worst part is that child care access in Idaho is going to get much worse, before it gets better.
By Beth Oppenheimer | Opinion on Idaho Statesman
Last year, Idaho was the recipient a $6 million annual grant for three years with a focus to improve Idaho’s early childhood education system. This grant was a follow-on to a previously successfully administered grant that allowed local communities to set up their own strategic plans related to early learning. U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch were strong proponents of the grant because it would have directly benefitted Idaho communities.
Read the entire article in the Idaho Statesman.
Idaho’s child care system is collapsing, and the resulting effects will be devastating for families, employers, and our economy. Families that depend on affordable, quality care are being left with few options and many providers are at their breaking point, being unable to find staff to operate at needed capacity.
This situation is dire and, if we do not act to support this industry and its early childhood professionals now, the dwindling of available child care availability will only get worse. While this assessment is bleak, we have never had a better opportunity to address the structural barriers to accessing child care than right now, but we need to be clear on what is causing this problem.
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Over the next several months, you may be presented with an opportunity to sign a petition from Reclaim Idaho to put something called the Quality Education Act on the November 2022 ballot. If you get that opportunity, you should sign the petition.
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What would Idaho’s companies do if they had a $1.4 billion windfall? Many would invest it to make their company more profitable for years to come.
Well, Idaho is sitting on a $1.4 billion surplus, and it has a historic opportunity to invest that money to create greater prosperity for this and future generations of Idahoans.